The role of the CIO role is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, from controlling cost and engineering processes, to driving revenue and exploiting data, according to Gartner.

95 per cent of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalisation, according to the 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey, which gathered data from 3,160 CIOs in 98 countries.

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Respondents believe that the two biggest transformations in the CIO role will be becoming a change leader, followed by assuming increased and broader responsibilities and capabilities. Inevitably, the job of CIO will extend beyond the traditional delivery roles to other areas of the business, such as innovation management and talent development, the analysts said.

Seventy-nine per cent of CIOs report that digital business is making their IT organisations more “change-ready,” and growth is the number one CIO priority for 2018, as reported by 26 per cent of CIOs.

“The CIO’s role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

“While delivery is still a part of the job, much greater emphasis is being placed on attaining a far broader set of business objectives.”

At least 84 per cent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The survey found that CIOs are spending more time on the business executive elements of their jobs compared with three years ago.

Tackling organisation culture

The changing CIO role requires hiring new resources to put in place the right digital team structures.

According to Gartner, some CIOs favour a separate digital team while others make digitalisation part of the day job of IT and the enterprise. However, 71 per cent of the top performers have a separate digital team to help them scale their digitalisation efforts. The most common structure for these teams is to report to the CIO, although the biggest difference between the top performers and their peers is in the CEO reporting relationship of these teams.

“The effects of digitalisation are profound. The impact on the job of CIO and on the IT organisation itself should not be underestimated,” said Rowsell-Jones.

“In this new world, CIO success is not based on what they build, but the services that they integrate. The IT organisation will move from manufacturer to buyer, and the CIO will become an expert orchestrator of services. The real finding though is that this is happening now, today. CIOs must start scaling their digital business and changing their own jobs with it now.”

CIO Priorities

CIOs rank AI, followed by digital security and the Internet of Things (IoT), as the most problematic technologies to implement. In part due to the new skills needed to implement them.

The survey showed that a majority of CIOs say that technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and  AI, will significantly change how they do their jobs in the near future. Cybersecurity continues to threaten the global landscape in 2018, and 95 per cent of CIOs surveyed said they expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organisation.

“In response to these concerns, the survey found that digital security ranks high on the CIO agenda as 35 per cent of respondents said they have already invested and deployed some aspect of digital security, and 36 per cent are in the process of planning to implement some form of digital security,” said Rowsell-Jones.

“CIOs are also increasingly adopting AI in their organisations. Predominantly, AI is being used initially, either to boost the customer experience or to fight fraud.”

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